Meditation is paying tender attention to the rhythms of life. Breathing is a rhythm, the heart is a rhythm, and life’s energies continually circulate through our bodies. This tender attention can be called mindfulness, heartfulness, or sense-full-ness, for we attend with our whole being: heart, mind, and senses.
In the play of consciousness and the body, awareness likes to cycle between all the tones.
or if you prefer
In practice this means that you may find yourself spontaneously moving from simple noticing, to gratefulness, to tearfulness, to heartfulness, to restfulness.
It can take quite a bit of giving - of time and attention - for any of us to catch up with all our thoughts and plans, and be able to simply enjoy ourselves. The pace of change in the world is so intense that we often feel that we "don't have time." We feel that we have a shortage of time. We are impoverished in our experience of time. This is a pervasive feeling among people who live in the first world. One of the surprise gifts of giving ourselves enough time, in the form of time to meditate, is the sense "I have enough time." So don't be concerned if for months your experience in meditation is none of the above, but rather Noise-ful. Worry-full. Or even Painful. Sometimes, to make a free inner space for our meditation, we need to clean out our closets, pay our bills, spend hours working on our to-do lists, writing letters or communicating with all the people in our lives, finishing unfinished conversations (if possible) and, as they say, getting our ducks in a row.
You want the overall tone of your meditation practice, whether it is breath awareness, body sensation awareness, mantra awareness, image or visualization, or any combination of these, to remind you of delightfulness, resourcefulness, gratefulness. That way, when you are immersed in worry-fulness and thoughtfulness and sorrowfulness, you have resources to rest in.
In the simplest terms, during meditation we cultivate the sense of savoring the texture of our lives, savoring the quality of pranashakti flowing through us in each moment.
In Sanskrit, one of the words for savoring is rasa.
When we are meditating, there is a tendency for life to refresh itself by rotating through all the different tastes of life. We may find ourselves irritated, remembering a painful delay or encounter, then this upgrades to anger, then changes to exhaustion, then relief, then restfulness. You could call this rotation through the rasas.
One of the incredible ideas from this meditation tradition is that during meditation we are savoring the texture of our life in our internal theater. The techniques of meditation amount to giving ourselves space, time, and attention - an attending audience. We are the actors, director, the stage, the lighting, the special effects creators, and the witness.